From the Offices of Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and Councilmember Jumaane Williams
(From L-R) Councilmember Inez D. Barron, Assemblymember Charles Barron, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, and Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember Jumaane Williams, Farah Louis, Bichotte's Cousin Carline Nau who shares the Dessalines Bloodline with Bichotte as great great great great granddaughters

August 20, 2018

Press Contact:
Rush Perez 

Kevin Fagan
Brooklyn Lawmakers
Celebrate the Street Co-Naming of
Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard
in Little Haiti Brooklyn

(Brooklyn, NY) Saturday , August 18th Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Councilmember Jumaane D Williams , and several community activists and leaders celebrated the unveiling of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard outside of the Tonel Restaurant and Lounge on Newkirk and Rogers Avenues. The boulevard is situated in the heart of Little Haiti BK . The celebration coincided with the Little Haiti Street Fair.

The event was sponsored by Assemblymember Bichotte, Councilmember Williams , and Senator Kevin Parker .

Also in attendance were US Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Borough President Eric L. Adams, Assemblymember Charles Barron, City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo, and Councilmember Inez D. Barron. These elected officials were joined by community activists and leaders many of whom were at the forefront of the battle for the co-naming of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard and for the creation of Little Haiti BK.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines , born on September 20, 1758, became the first ruler of an independent Haiti. He was born into slavery and worked in the infamous sugar cane fields until he was 30. When the Haitian Revolution began, he immediately joined the fight. Jean-Jacques Dessalines eventually became a top Lieutenant of renowned Haitian Revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture . After Toussaint L’Ouverture’s capture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines took control of the Haitian Army and led his people to a series of victories over the French securing the independence of his country in 1804 .

The French loss in Haiti so devastated them that they were forced to sell the Louisiana Territory to US President Thomas Jefferson , thereby doubling the size of America.

Assemblymember Bichotte explained the significance of Jean-Jacques Dessalines to the Haitian-American community here in Flatbush and the world.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines is an individual whose historical importance is difficult to understate,” noted Assemblymember Bichotte . “He was a man who led the first successful slave revolt in world history and, in so doing, created the first free Black Republic in the Western Hemisphere and the second independent country in the region right after the United States of America gainedtheir independence in 1776. With this street co-naming, we are undoing in a concrete and tangible way centuries of the trivialization of our history. Now, tens of thousands will walk the streets in Central Brooklyn, and see the name of Jean -Jacques Dessalines ; many will be encouraged to learn about him, his compatriots, and their accomplishments.  

The crowd cheered as the Assemblymember finished her remarks, and several of the people in attendance waved their Haitian flags and shouted "Ayiti Liberte!".

Councilmember Williams , who introduced the proposal for the co-naming to the New York City Council, noted the powerful symbolism of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a revolutionary who fought for his people and overthrew an oppressive regime who brutally enslaved and persecuted the Haitian people,” Councilmember Williams said. "This revolutionary spirit, to fight for independence against oppression, burns bright in Haitian Culture today. Haiti and its proud people are an intrinsic part of my district and it is only right to honor that spirit with this co-naming. I thank Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte for her fierce advocacy on this issue, as well as Little Haiti BK and the Haitian community I am proud to represent. I would also like to thank City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Staff, Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo , Councilmembers Inez D. Barron, Mathieu Eugene , Barry Grodenchik, and my other colleagues on the council for their support."
US Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
Also in attendance was Congresswoman Clarke , who noted how far the Haitian-American community had come in Brooklyn and New York largely.

“The Haitian-American community in Brooklyn has a proud, meaningful, and legendary history that embodies the spirit of Haitian Revolutionary Jean- Jacques Dessaline s; courageous, determined, valiant, and resilient,” explained Congresswoman Clarke . "Therefore, it is befitting that the intersection of Newkirk and Rogers Avenues be co-named in his honor. This is one of many efforts in which we as a community are paying homage to the many contributions Haitian-Americans have made and continue to make, not only to our community in Brooklyn , but to the history of Black people around the globe. I am proud to serve one of the largest Haitian-American communities in the nation. Through the leadership of Councilmember Jumaane Williams and Assemblymember Rodynese Bichotte we are witness to this historic event. These public servants represent the very best of Brooklyn and I am proud to join them in celebration today."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Borough President Adams praised the celebration of Jean-Jacques Dessalines and noted the significance of the boulevard to the Haitian-American community here in Brooklyn.

"I was proud to help unveil a street co-naming at the corner of Newkirk and Rogers avenues in Flatbush for Jean-Jacques Dessalines , a co-naming in the heart of Little Haiti," said Borough President Adams . "This was a special day for our Haitian-American community in Brooklyn, the Port-au-Prince of America. It is so important that our immigrant stories are reflected in the places and spaces around our borough that put our diverse history on proud display."
Assemblymember Charles Barron
Assemblymember Barron , a longtime supporter of the initiative to co-name Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard , placed the Haitian Revolutionary hero in his proper historical context.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines is a true revolutionary hero,” Assemblymember Barron explained. “All Americans owe a debt to Haiti and Jean-Jacques Dessalines because of the successful revolution in Haiti over France. Because of the Haitian Revolution, America was able to expand by way of the Louisiana Purchase. This street co-naming is most deserving.”
City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo
Majority Leader Cumbo , who co-sponsored the legislation proposing the co-naming of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard , expressed joy at seeing the unveiling of the street sign.

“Freedom is no simple feat, and is not without its complexities,” said Majority Leader Cumbo . “It is in that spirit that I celebrate today’s street co-naming in honor of Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines . I am proud to honor his legacy and highlight his incredible contributions towards the freedom of the Haitian people, which also served as a model for movements for freedom and justice worldwide.”
Councilmember Inez D. Barron
(Left) Gerard Cadet VP of 1199SEIU and Nassau Legislator Carrie Solages
Councilmember Barron spoke eloquently about the effort to secure the co-naming of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard .

"Everything is political and this was not something that was done in the usual manner and passed with ease," explained Councilmember Barron . "It was a battle, but those who understand the significance of not allowing other people to determine who is important to our history waged that battle."
Rosemonde Pierre-Louise, Executive Director of the Haitian Roundtable
Gerard Cadet, Vice-President of 1199SEIU
Jackson Rockingster, President and CEO of the Haitian American Business Network
Jensen Desrosiers, Owner of Tonel Restaurant and Lounge
Several community activists and leaders were also present. Among them was Vice President of 1199SEIU, Gerard Cadet who testified before the City Council in favor of the co-naming and who also spoke during the unveiling ceremony. In addition, the President and CEO of the Haitian Business Network, Jackson Rockingster and Rosemonde Pierre-Louis , the Executive Director of the Haitian Roundtable were both in attendance and spoke movingly about what the co-naming meant to them. Rounding out this impressive group of community leaders, was Jensen Desrosier s the owner of Tonel Restaurant and Lounge.
The jubilant crowd preparing for the unveiling
(From L-R) Spring valley Trustee Eudson Tyson Francois,   Congresswoman Clarke, Borough President Adams, and Assemblymember Bichotte prepare to unveil Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard
An intrepid individual climbs atop the sign post to pull the veil from Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard!
Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard
Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard will run along Rogers Avenue from Farragut Road to Eastern Parkway.

Please click below to watch the exciting unveiling.
Artic les about the co-naming of Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard:


Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte represents the 42nd Assembly District in the New York State Assembly representing the Brooklyn communities of Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush and Midwood. She is currently the  Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) , and serves on the following committees:  Housing, Government Operations, Economic Development, Banks, Health, and Higher Education . She is also a member of the  Task Force on Women's Issues  and sits on Governor Cuomo's Domestic Violence Advisory Council.

As a current Assemblymember and District Leader, Rodneyse Bichotte has been an outspoken advocate on issues concerning immigration, unemployment, education reform, health care access, senior citizen centers, affordable housing, women's and LGBTQ rights, as well as other issues affecting the quality of life in the community.
Learn more about 
Rodneyse Bichotte by visiting her website: